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Cushion cover

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk satin with applied canvaswork motifs

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 58, case 1

In the 17th century the majority of wooden chairs and stools were not upholstered, and in more prosperous homes, decorated cushions were widely used both for comfort and for the attractiveness of their appearance. Long cushion covers like this were specifically made to fit wooden benches.

It is possible that this cushion was worked in a household rather than a professional workshop. More than one woman or girl might have been involved in making the separate motifs, which were then applied to the silk ground. These individual motifs were known as slips, like the plant cuttings taken by gardeners. Such household furnishings often depicted scenes from rural life, and as well as the noblemen shown here hunting with hawks, we can also see gardeners at their work, gathering fruit and training vines in an orchard of apples, cherries and quinces.

Physical description

Long cushion cover showing pear, cherry and apple trees; huntsmen and gardeners; slips and insects; birds and animals. Silk satin with applique of linen canvas embroidered with silk and metal thread in tent stitch, laid and couched work.

Backed with patterned satin.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1600 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silk satin with applied canvaswork motifs


Length: 104 cm not checked against object, Width: 41 cm not checked against object

Object history note

Purchased for £150 from W. Morland, of Court Lodge, Lamberhurst, Kent

Descriptive line

Long cushion cover, white satin with applied canvaswork motifs, English, about 1600.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Some Elizabethan Embroideries, by Gerard Brett, in Burlington MAgazine, vols LXXXVIII to LXXXIX 1946/7, pp.190-3

Labels and date

British Galleries label text:

About 1600

Rural life was a typical subject for embroideries and tapestries. The embroidery here shows a nobleman hunting with hawks, while gardeners gather fruit and train vines in an orchard. Embroidered cushions made hard seats more comfortable before the development of fixed upholstery in the 17th century.

Silk satin with applied canvaswork
Embroidered in England

Museum no. T.79-1946 []





Subjects depicted

Caterpillars; Stags; Hunters; Dogs; Peacocks; Hunting; Turkeys; Birds; Apple trees; Pears; Gardeners; Butterflies; Insects; Cherries; Women


Textiles; Embroidery; Interiors; British Galleries; Agriculture

Production Type



Textiles and Fashion Collection

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